“For the ones to come after you, it will be easier. … Because they won’t want things they can’t have.”
The world is much different than it used to be, but those women living in the changed world still remember how it used to be – walking freely in the streets, making their own choices, spending their own money. Now, they are safe from men who would attack them, but they are also tied down to certain roles and stations – and they must believe in what the new society is doing or face death. The Handmaid’s Tale tells one woman’s story of how she tried surviving and adapting to the new world without losing her soul.
I first heard about The Handmaid’s Tale when it was promoted as a television show. I saw that it was based on a novel, so I added it to my to-read list. I found it listed on Anchor Books list of books that could be requested for reviews, so I asked for a copy. In exchange, I am supposed to post a fair review.
The handmaid’s name is not revealed in this book, but women in her station are called Offred. She was married and had a young girl before she was captured by the new government and sent to a facility to learn to become a handmaid – a type of concubine meant to conceive for couples who cannot do it themselves. With strict religious overtones, the new structure of the world uses Biblical passages to support their ideas and keep people in their places. People are hanged for running away, disobeying the rules, acting out of their station or being of a different religion. The world focuses on children being produced as radiation spills have led to many children being born who don’t survive. Offred would do fine in her new role, but she still remembers what love feels like and it could lead to her downfall.
If you enjoy books like 1984, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World, you will like The Handmaid’s Tale. It is a chilling dystopian novel with a warning for any society that believes people should conform to one strict belief system and not allow dissent. The book is for high school or older readers as there is suicide, brainwashing, hangings and prostitution. I don’t know if I’ll watch the television series, but the book was very interesting and had a very unique storyline.
Have you read or watched The Handmaid’s Tale? What did you think? Comment below!